Saturday, 18 January 2014

A pin hole (saving Farm Terrace)

Dear Monty,

A pin hole is hardly noticeable in the everyday rush of our lives, but even a pinhole of light if detected can begin to open up our minds to something far greater.

Sara Jane Trebar and her battle to save Farm Terrace Allotments  is for me one such speck of light in an ever darker world.

The trouble is how many people see the universe in that speck ?

What makes humans healthy ? Is it all about a man made system heavily reliant on consuming  more resources, or is it to do with what nourishes the soul as well as the body ?
If you want to follow researched and validated information on health promotion then there is plenty of evidence out there for what makes us healthy. If our motives are truly about wanting to promote health and prevent (as far as is possible) ill health and so reduce the burden on the NHS, how does building over allotments contribute to that ?

The air that we all breathe requires nature and green space, and by that I mean places that are not over managed or planned municipal green space (which also consumes resources in order to maintain it ).

The problem is a 'worldly' view of health, one which is linked to business and commercialism, health is not just found there, health is about so much more; it is about being linked to the elemental. We are organic creatures, but always seem to forget that. We are not separate to the organic living earth we are intrinsically part of it, but our lives are being severed from the light of that truth more and more.

I walked the woods this morning and on the way noticed how much rubbish had been thrown out of car windows onto the verge of the road leading to the woods, this is a small example of our sickness. Our separation from the earth and our care for it is our greatest disease.

I know that in power terms in society I am a nobody, but I am a living breathing creature with a short time upon the earth who tries to keep in touch with the light. I have been a Registered Nurse for 27 years and have diplomas and a degree, and have researched health and health needs as part of a diploma in Community Health Studies, but none of that matters. I have seen what really matters to us when I have cared for people at the end of their life, a journey which we all take, and what matters has nothing to do with the material and everything to do with relationships and what we think of as 'ephemeral' It has everything to do with what it was to be truly alive.

Veg plots may not seem important in the context of all the needs of human beings in this world, and although I have never met the tenants of Farm Terrace, I would imagine that they all experience real health benefits - not just in terms of the food produced (free of added sugars, salt, preservatives etc. ) but in terms of being in touch with nature and each other.

When oh when will we wake up ?


Saturday, 11 January 2014

The light and shade of our days

Dear Monty,

Today is a bright and beautiful day. On this day we all have our mood lifted by the sun, by the sharpness of contrast between light and shade. I walked around the garden just letting time melt into the now of the moment.

I have been watching the 'Great British Garden Revival' and although I have enjoyed the series so far, and have been reminded that many of the aspects/styles of gardens shown have a merit of their own, it seems to me the thing missing is the role that gardens have in easing the troubled mind.

Light and shade is almost a mirror of our mood. In other words the natural organic world reflects what goes on inside us. What more proof do we need that we are so intricately linked to the whole living planet ? I have dark and shady anxious negative thoughts, which are displaced by the light of the eternal moment.

We took dog for a walk in Craig y Nos Country Park enjoying more of the light, letting it cast out doubts as we walked.

After a coffee and welsh cake, we returned home to the coal tip. The light remains with us, it is a light we can carry into the shade of tomorrow.


All these blurry photos were taken on an old Xperia phone.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Beginning of the year review

Dear Monty,

More floods, the road almost washed away, the garden boggy underfoot. (I suspect that Longmeadow has been under water too.) But instead of feeling depressed by it, I know that it will come back to life.

Inspired by and I have decided to show you what the garden looks like from different points at this time of the year. I offer it up in all its messiness.

Apologies for the quality of the photographs, they were taken in the gloom on my phone.

The box in pots have got a form of blight, but I like the colour.
The terraced area has old concrete paving the joints between which have self sown with daisies - erigeron karvinskianus (with thanks to Anne Wareham) and violets
The pieris full of red tinged flower buds
Most of my terracotta pots do not survive but again I don't mind the flaking, it takes several seasons before they are replaced
Tatty fence
This was where the pine was, and has exposed a tatty white fence, which I want to paint black to make it disappear. 
The border down the left side of the garden as viewed from the house, has undulations where the borders have been extended over the last 13 years to accommodate more plants.
Further along the same border, this is the original width, and the edge is marked by old sandstone blocks from the house. Behind the fence to the left behind the trunk of the buddleia is a steep drop down to a brook.
Again the same border as seen from the apple tree
The bog garden now even boggier, there is a small pond there for the birds and the wildlife, it is not ornamental, except when the Japanese maple is in leaf in that pot.
With a nod to Alison Levey, this is the washing line border ! 
Looking from the washing line border (which is hidden from the view down the garden from the house by the beech hedge ) back towards the house
The washing line border bench (the line is a retractable one which means you don't have to stare at the washing)
The pine end of the 'greenhouse'
The greenhouse border 
Back to the terrace with lumps of coal on the wall
There, I haven't shown the whole garden, but these are areas which are going to be fiddled with before Spring truly springs.